Purpose

This feature documentary for theatrical release is about how Mexican immigrants, in their quest for the American Dream, inspired a global street-food phenomenon.

After several years of consistent growth, MobileCusine.com released statistics in 2015 that valued the food-truck-industry at $1.2 billion dollars, and showing no signs of slowing down.

“The industry’s remarkable rise has been largely attributable to changing consumer preferences in favor of unique, gourmet cuisine at budget-conscious prices,” according to IBISWorld’s November 2016 Food Trucks market research report.

But worldwide popularity isn’t necessarily turning streets to gold in Los Angeles. Hundreds of traditional taco trucks, or loncheras, dotted around Southern California are operated by immigrant families from South America, and this grassroots story focuses on their ongoing struggle for social justice. The project is especially timely given our country’s current political and social climate, which feels more like a war on immigrants.

About The Documentary

Masa Revolution: The Backstreet to the American Dream goes behind the popular gourmet food-truck scene, and steps aboard traditional taco trucks to see how the celebrated phenomenon has affected immigrant entrepreneurs struggling to stay in business.  

For decades, taco trucks were synonymous with working class in blue-collar neighborhoods around Los Angeles. When the gourmet street-food revolution started in 2010, one approach local lawmakers and public health officials took to gain control was to revive obsolete parking regulations. That sparked a rallying cry for social justice for traditional loncheras, whose business model has been to set up shop, in the same spot — night after night — for years. These small business owners say they’re part of the communities they serve. Critics call them nuisances and often hurl criminal accusations.

What has ensued over the past several years is combative turf wars, heated protests and confrontational health inspections- growing pains as this once humble industry boomed into a billion-dollar global goldmine.

Our cameras capture the conflict that has gone mostly unnoticed in the mainstream media.


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Making the Animation

Masa Revolution: The Backstreet to The American Dream traces street food in Los Angeles back to its origins in Mexico before the Spanish conquest.  We discovered that not only does much of the same food-on-the-go still exist, but that we still refer to several items as the Aztecs and Mayans did in their Náhuatl language, including guacamole, tortillas, and tamales.

Food is particularly important when you become part of a diaspora, separated from your mother culture. “It’s the last vestige of culture that people shed,” says Jennifer Berg, director of graduate food studies at New York University.

Mexican immigrants and their street-food tradition are a fundamental part of the global food-truck goldmine. It’s more timely than ever to explore related cultural, social and economic themes given today’s political climate and palatable hostility towards immigrants in the United States.

Masa Revolution: The Backstreet to the American Dream is a feature-length documentary.  Here’s a sneak peek at the short animated open:

 

Press / Media

“The revolution may or may not be televised, but it will certainly be filmed, especially when veteran broadcast journalist Patricia Nazario is running the show, and when the revolution in question is the new wave of food trucks.”


“At first glance, Masa Revolution is a bilingual documentary about the evolution of food truck eats: from masa-based tamales and tacos, to gourmet burgers and sushi burritos. But viewers will soon realize that the story is about entrepreneurs chasing The American Dream, changing attitudes around cultural differences and social media’s role in this modern-day revolution.”


“En el transcurso de cumplir el documental, Masa Revolution: The Backstreet to The American Dream, la periodista Patricia Nazario ha contado con varios pasantes de noticias universitarios para grabar, editar, y organizar los archivos de contenido. Acá, compartimos una obra producida por Jorge Neri hecho cuando era alumno del periodismo en la California State University Northridge.”

English translation: “In the process of completing the documentary, Masa Revolution: The Backstreet to The American Dream, journalist Patricia Nazario has counted on various university-level news interns to record, edit and organize media. Here is a piece produced by Jorge Neri when he was a journalism student at California State University Northridge.”


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